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Delivery Strategies

As we move closer toward a post-pandemic future, many institutions are considering a variety of course delivery approaches. These hybrid and flexible approaches have the potential to harness the best of both worlds: in-person and virtual learning. Hybrid learning pedagogy has the ability to meet varying learner needs and backgrounds while leveraging the flexibility of Educational Technologies. This is a challenge, but also an opportunity to make changes in the way we, as educators, deliver content.   

Modifying delivery strategies while juggling how to teach in multiple modes of delivery is a new challenge at the forefront of most educators’ minds.  There are many delivery options to choose from: face-to-face, hybrid, HyFlex, blended, online synchronous, online asynchronous, etc.  You may feel like you need an acronym cheat-sheet just to keep up with them all!    

To help you manage the multiple delivery options, refer to the chart below which offers current definitions and additional resources regarding all delivery strategies.   

Teaching and Learning Delivery Options 

Delivery Mode  Definition  Additional Resources 
Online asynchronous  
  • Instructor and students all engage with the course content at different times and from different locations.  
  • Instructor provides students with a sequence of units which the students move through as their schedules permit.  
  • Each unit might make use of assigned readings or uploaded media, online quizzes, discussion boards, and more. The instructor guides the students, provides them with feedback, and assesses them as needed. 
The resources available define and explain the differences between asynchronous and synchronous learning:  

Online synchronous   Instructor and students engage with the course content and each other  at the same time, but from different locations
Instructor interacts with students in real time by means of virtual web-conferencing tools. 
Blended  
  • Learning happens in face-to-face sessions and online, with both modalities integrated into a cohesive learning experience.  
  • Online materials and activities are meant to complement, supplement, and build upon (rather than replace) face-to-face time 
Hybrid  
  • In contrast with blended courses, hybrid courses replace much of the face-to-face time with online interaction. A significant portion of the course takes place online. 
  • Online components can be synchronous or asynchronous 
HyFlex 
  • Combines the terms “hybrid” and “flexible” 
  • Each class is offered in-person, synchronously online, and asynchronously online to provide a flexible experience and multiple modes of participation 
  • Students are given choice in how they participate in the course and engage with material, and can change their method of participation throughout the course (e.g., weekly, by topic, or according to preference) 

Adapted from Course Design Models that Combine In-Person and Online Components: Definitions and Examples and Course Design Models: Blended, Hybrid, Flipped, HyFlex, University of Guelph. Adapted from Synchronous & Asynchronous Online Learning, University of Waterloo.